After Modi's intervention, pension of army Officer Widow would be restored after 30 years
The 94 years old Hebe Benjamin, widow of Late Col George Benjamin of Army Engineers will get the pension after the hiatus of 30 years, due to the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narender Modi. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued instructions to restore the family pension of the 94-year-old widow of a former Indian Army officer who died almost 30 years ago. Mrs. Hebe Benjamin struggled for more than 29 years to get the pension but no positive response was received by her from the officials of Ministry of Defence (MoD). Finally, as a last ray of hope she wrote to PM Modi to intervene in this matter and the PMO swung into action that resulted in restoration of pension after more than 29 years.
Total pension amount expected to be given to Hebe Benjamin
After the PMOs intervention, it is expected that Mrs. Hebe Bejamin would receive a total amount of Rs 75 lakh as upwards in pension and if the interest and arrears are paid then the total amount would cross Rs 1 crore.
Photo Courtesy India Today: An old photo of Hebe Benjamin (left) with Late Col George Benjamin
The ordeal of Hebe Benjamin and her family
The family of Col Benjamin was relocated to Israel after his retirement and once he passed away, the family pension, which was the only source of income for Mrs. Hebe Benjamin, was not deposited in her Bank account. Unfortunately, when the relatives and friends approached the MoD officials, no one was willing to clear her pension file and no clear reason was given for it. She had to wage a long battle to reclaim her benefits. The family wrote to the deputy adjutant in the Adjutant General's branch repeatedly. Her husband was passed away in 1990 and the pension was stopped, since then. In 1998 she received a letter from Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions) (PCDA) Allahabad that pension could be released only after the President decided on the matter. And then there was total silence on the issue. Mrs. Hebe Benjamin and her daughter even approached the Indian ambassador in Israel but they did not receive any positive reply till July 24, 2018. Therefore, she wrote to PM Modi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) to intervene in this matter personally. Now, it is expected that Hebe Benjamin would get the pension by January 31 in her Bank account and the family has sought arrears to be calculated keeping in mind the 5th, 6th and 7th Pay Commission and interest on pension denied for more than 29 years.
Photo Courtesy India Today: An old photo of Late Col George Benjamin
About Col Benjamin
Col Benjamin had served in the Corps of Engineers and retired in 1966. His Indian Commission (IC) number was 2003 - which means he was the 2003rd officer to be commissioned in the Indian Army post-independence.